Finding the right place for technology in your life isn’t
always easy. I’ve found technology can
be either my best friend or worst enemy.
When technology works it’s such a powerful and amazing tool. When it doesn’t work, frustration can feel
like it went from zero to sixty in a split second. As smart phones especially become more and
more integrated into our lives it can be challenging to strike the right
balance with it.
I’m amazed not only at
how much technology can do but how personal it has become; from stepping on a
scale to get all kinds of information about my physical body beyond just my
weight, an app connected to a toothbrush that shows if there’s any teeth
getting less than the care they need, how many steps I’ve taken today, and
bedtime apps complete with notifications for when to go to bed and when to get
up, or sleep music and meditations to help you fall sleep. It has all become so much more intimate!
Technology has found its way into more and more of my
personal routines that help me with personal care. Of course, there are so many more things the
smart phone can do with its ability to connect to information instantaneously,
and to other people, alongside their productivity functions. It’s no wonder we’re constantly wanting to
check our phones for anything new and stay connected to information that so
often helps us feel connected and makes sure we’re taking the best possible care
Then there are the times when the phone feels a little too
close, a little too insistent on being checked for the absolute latest thing. How do we keep it in balance?
The first step is simply to notice what is happening. Yes, we have this amazing tool and that’s
exactly what it is, a tool. A hammer can
be used to build or tear down. A smart
phone can similarly bring us out of balance or help us be our best possible
expression of ourselves. If we allow
ourselves to notice when it works and when it feels frustrating, we have taken
a huge step towards balance. With this
information we can then take steps to cultivate the ways technology feels good
and right to use in our lives. We can
also notice the times when it is pulling us out of the moment of something
that’s happening right in front of us that is more important to attend to right
Recently, I went on a hike with a friend. I was surprised at the occasional
announcements of the emails she had received along our way. Interestingly, they were about mindfulness or
a yoga happening. This seemed natural
and worked for her. For me, when I’m on
a hike with a friend I’ll track how far I’ve gone on the hike but am fairly
unlikely to check emails along the way.
Both can be right as long as it works for you, well, and the person
you’re with! I have had instances where
my much-needed getaway from technology was interspersed with the presence of
someone else’s phone sounds and their need to have it out and in view staying
as equally connected as if they were at home.
They were still working! I had
spent the last few days before this wilderness getaway allowing myself to be
more connected than I wanted to be to my phone to handle a pressing matter
expecting that I would have a reprieve from technology all together. I didn’t get the reprieve I had hoped but I
did get a shocking sense of how connected some people feel they need to be even
when on a nature getaway!
So, what can you do if you find yourself unable to unhook?
Take a technology
fast. The Amish live this way and
Orthodox Jews do it weekly for Shabbat from sundown on Friday to sundown on
Saturday. You can take a technology
break by turning it off and tucking it away not to be touched for a half hour,
during a short walk or while taking a fitness or yoga class. You could also choose several hours, a whole
afternoon or day where the phone is off completely.
During this time, notice the times you find yourself wanting
to check the phone and what you’re wanting to check it for. Notice how often this happens. Most importantly, notice with kindness. Again, it’s all information that will fuel
your next choice.
These fasts can be done on a regular basis or simply as a
way to stay in balance with how you connect with your device.
technology feels helpful. Honor all the ways in which technology is helpful
and keeps you in balance and on course with your life. These are as important to notice as when it
doesn’t. Appreciate the moments where it
keeps you connected to others and in touch. Connection is an important part of
our wellbeing and technology has created so many ways for us to find our best
way to do this. Feel through and find
yours. Notice the places where you might
use it creatively. For photos. Playing a game. Notice the moments where it allows you to be
yourself & to express more fully than you might otherwise have with
information it gives you or in another way.
Journal. Go old school. Use a pen and paper. Connect to the feel of writing. Write about technology and your relationship
to it. Or something else. Start a gratitude journal. Just put pen to paper & write. Invite it to flow.
mindfulness or meditation practice.
This might be a mindful movement practice like yoga, Qi Gong, or Tai
Chi. It might be walking, running,
cycling, hiking, or climbing. Find time
to cultivate your inner awareness, places where you can focus your mind on one
thing, and allow the thoughts to settle.
Give your brain and mind time to relax and let go.
Find your way. These are several things you can do to check in with your technology connection and balance. Take the steps you need to find your right balance with it. Give it the time it needs and allow yourself to be kind as you make adjustments along the way.
Monica is a credentialed Yoga Therapist with the International Association of Yoga Therapists (C-IAYT) and a registered yoga teacher (RYT-500) with Yoga Alliance. She completed a Master of Science in Yoga Therapy from Maryland University of Integrative Health in 2018 & has been a Certified Yoga Instructor since 2003. She continues to find the elusively subtle yet powerful aspects of yoga fuel her ongoing study and exploration of its many and varied tools. Monica enjoys exploring all that the earth offers. She offers weekly yoga classes in addition to her in person & online private yoga therapy practice.